enset or false banana, large herbaceous plant, Ensete ventricosum, of the family Musaceae (the banana family), native to E and S Africa and grown for food in the Ethiopian highlands, where it is an important staple starch. Reaching up to 33 ft (10 m) in height, it is similar in appearance to a banana plant, but unlike the banana it is grown for its starchy corms; the fruit of the enset is inedible. Drought tolerant, enset can be grown throughout the year and in cultivation is propagated vegetatively from suckers and harvested before it flowers. At harvest, the entire plant is dug up and the corms are pounded and mixed with pulp from the leaf sheaths and fermented starch from a previous batch, then put in a pit lined with enset leaves, where it ferments and is stored for up to a year. The fermented starch is made into a flatbread and fried, steamed as a pudding or porridge, or baked in leaves in a pit. The fresh corms can also be cut up and boiled. Enset fiber is used to make rope, baskets, and mats. Enset is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Zingiberales, family Musaceae.

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